Friday, July 29, 2016

Deliver Your Chapter’s Unique Value – Part 3 - Use Your SWOT Analysis

In the July 12th blog we considered the steps of a basic SWOT (Strength-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats) analysis as a way to help you to think more strategically about your chapter. 

So, after you have identified your chapter’s internal strengths and weaknesses and its external opportunities and threats …what in the world do you do with the information?

Put the information in a form where patterns begin to emerge.  You can make the tabulation as simple or elaborate as you wish. Here's a simple format

Internal Strengths
Internal Weaknesses
External Opportunities
External Threats

Eloise Schwartz, of the Metro Milwaukee Chapter, shared a beautifully done Power Point of the SWOT analysis she did for her chapter.  I've excerpted a more elaborate tabulation of her chapter's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.  Eloise will share her SWOT analysis.  Please send an email to if you would like to see the rest of it.
Take your lists and you ask yourself a few more questions:

  • Which areas of internal weakness present the greatest threat to your chapter’s continued existence?  Prioritize them by listing the most significant first.
  • Which external threats present the greatest threat to your chapter’s continued existence?  Prioritize them by listing the most significant first.
  • Which internal strengths represent the greatest hope for to your chapter’s continued existence?  Prioritize them by listing the most significant first.
  • Which external opportunities represent the greatest hope for to your chapter’s continued existence?  Prioritize them by listing the most significant first.
My personal preference is to play to strengths first…pick the low-hanging fruit before going after the hard stuff.  Ask yourself:
  • What are my chapter’s existing strengths?
  • Can we enhance those existing strengths?  What might some goals and project plans be to do this?
  • Which opportunities might be within our reach? What might some goals and project plans be to do this?
  • Which strengths can we use to take advantage of those opportunities? What might some goals and project plans to do that be?
  • Can we use some of our strengths to mitigate some of our weaknesses?

And so on…
Go ahead and give it a never know what might bubble up!!
Valerie Stafford-Mallis

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Deliver Your Chapter’s Unique Value – The SWOT Analysis

On June 15th, I posted a blog titled "Delivering Your Chapter's Unique Value" and asked the following questions:

(1)    Is the HLAA Chapter becoming obsolete?

(2)    Are Chapters still relevant?

(3)    How can chapters compete with on-line sources of information?

I closed my blog by promising to write more about strategies Chapters might consider to communicate and deliver their value to existing and prospective members.  Today is the second installment.

HLAA Chapters are just coming off Convention 2016 and what an exciting Convention it was!  The Chapter/State Room was abuzz with fabulous ideas and things chapter leaders all over the country are doing to revitalize and grow stronger chapters. 

I saw the 6 strategies I mentioned in my previous blog reflected in what the workshop presenters shared:

(1)    Understand the strengths and weaknesses of other sources of hearing information

(2)    Understand the chapter’s strengths and weaknesses

(3)    Power-up the chapter’s marketing beyond advertising its meeting dates and times

(4)    Deliver an incredible personal experience at every chapter event and meeting

(5)    Focus on WHY your chapter exists and WHY it matters to a person with hearing loss

(6)    Build a strong team to deliver the incredible chapter experience

Today I would like us to think about analyzing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.  Many chapters have looked at the other ways people can get information about hearing loss and how their chapter stacks up against those options.  Your chapter can look at this, too. Don’t be afraid to pull a group of people together, get some flip charts and markers, and just brainstorm.  Add a little wine if you are so inclined and let the creativity flow!  There are no right or wrong answers.  The important thing is to just do it!

Let’s take going online for hearing loss information as an example.  What are the strengths of on-line hearing loss information?  Well, it’s available 24/7. 24/7 can be very convenient for people with busy schedules.  What might the disadvantages of online information be? It might be impersonal. It might be of variable quality and motivation.  Your browsing history might be tracked and a record made of the websites you visit.  Have you ever clicked on what you thought was an informative article only to be barraged by ads you could not get rid of?  What if you need person-to-person encouragement or hope or empathy or support?  How easy is that to get online? 

So, doing a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of online information we might come up with something like this (and please add your own):

Online Info Strengths
Online Info Weaknesses
Online Info Opportunities
Online Info Threats
Available 24/7
Credibility varies
Chapters can put some of their info online
The information superhighway is in transition
If you can’t beat ‘em…join ‘em
Content placement might not always be free
User-defined Search Parameters
Advertisements & Privacy Issues
Audience of One
Skills Required

Next, perform a similar SWOT analysis of your chapter’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Gain a greater understanding by asking these questions:

(1)    What are your chapter’s greatest strengths?

·         Is it the ability to provide one-on-one follow-up to visitors and members?

·         Is it the ability to provide boots-on-the-ground referrals to enlightened hearing-health service providers

·         Is it the ability to educate members how to get the most out of their hearing health provider visits?

·         Is it engaging speakers talking on compelling topics?

·         Is it social connection?

·         Is it personalized peer-mentoring and social support?

·         Is it no-pressure assistive listening device demonstrations?

(2)    What are its greatest weaknesses?

·         Is it not having enough volunteers?

·         Is it leader burnout?

·         Is it fundraising?

·         Something else?

In the next blog, I will offer some suggestions about what you can do with all those flip chart pages you have filled up with strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats from your SWOT analysis.

Stay tuned and thank you for sharing your time and talents with HLAA.  You are AMAZING!

Valerie Stafford-Mallis